Monday, January 23, 2012

Some of us need to learn the hard way

You may remember this post from last March. I have always loved dogs and was very disappointed when we found out that Emily was allergic. Since then, I have thought about finding another dog that was hypoallergenic. I have kept my eye on websites that list dogs for adoption just hoping a dog would "jump out at me". When I saw Emily's letter to Santa, the desire for a dog just grew and I started looking more and more often. I just had to work on Mike. He likes big dogs and most of the hypoallergenic breeds are small. He finally gave in around Christmas time and said that we should get a dog.

Last Friday, I found a listing on the web for a labradoodle pup. I called the owner and found out that his 4 pups were going fast. Mike and I talked it over and decided to take a look at the pups on Saturday. We drove almost 2 hours away and met the owner with one of the last remaining pups. Our main concern was that Emily would not have an allergic reaction. Labradoodles are supposed to be hypoallergenic, but it depends on how they are bred. So we rubbed the puppy on Emily's face, had her lick her and we took her paw and scratched Em's hand. Then watched for a reaction. She showed no signs of an allergic reaction whatsoever. So we took the pup home and named her Daisy.

Since this came about so suddenly, we didn't have anything we needed. Mike's co-worker had a crate that we could borrow, but we still needed food, bowls, collar, leash, toys, etc. Mike went shopping while I stayed home with Emily and the dog. The puppy was terrified. She basically hid under the table or stayed in the crate most of the day. She would not come near us when we called. If we picked her up to pet her she would put her head down, tail between her legs and just tolerate it. That first night, she cried and whined and yelped for most of the night. We expected this reaction since she was taken away from her mom, the rest of her litter and was "forced" to live with complete strangers. Poor thing was traumatized! Thus began the most stressful week of our lives!

Daisy continued to be terrified of us (and any other person that came by) for the next few days. We started to wonder what had happened to her to make her so nervous around people. We don't think she was abused, but suspect that she was neglected. We think the puppies were just left in a barn and had very little human interaction. She was especially afraid of Mike so maybe a man scared her. She also hated her crate. During the day, she liked it as long as the door was open. As soon as the door closed, the high pitched barking would start (she sounded like she was being beaten). This terrified Emily and she began to cry which scared the dog even more.

This scenario continued for a few days. She would cry the better part of the night. During the day, she would get herself into trouble more times than I can count. When I was feeding or taking care of Emily, the puppy would be chewing table legs or computer cords or anything else that happened to be in reach. She also had various accidents in the house. I wanted to put her in her crate during those times, but the high pitched barking made that impossible. Emily doesn't really feel like eating when she is crying hysterically (it is also impossible to do a tube feeding because crying makes her stomach tight and the formula won't go down). So, Daisy had way more freedom that she should. We shut the bedroom doors, but our kitchen, dining room and living room are one big room and she could easily get out of sight. We tried blocking her in the kitchen and that brought on the high pitched barking, which made Emily cry - so clearly that was not an option.

I was on edge from morning until night. I was sleep deprived and totally stressed out. It all came to a head on Tuesday afternoon when I laid on the floor and cried my eyes out. I was completely overwhelmed and didn't know what to do. I felt like I had been neglecting Emily because Daisy took so much of my time and attention. I had sent her to school that morning and forgot to pack her medication and her Gloworm (we never go anywhere without Gloworm!). I also felt like I was failing to set appropriate boundaries for Daisy. It wasn't fair to either of them.

Mike and I talked it over and decided that we needed to find Daisy a new home. It broke my heart to even think it, but I also knew that it was the right thing to do. A puppy was not a good fit for our family. We just didn't have the time and energy needed to raise a puppy. Maybe things would have worked out better if we got an older dog. Who knows! The bottom line was that we wanted what was best for Daisy and for Emily and our family. That meant we had to find someone else to take her. I wanted to move quickly before I got too attached to her (and before I went completely insane).

We listed her on the web and got TONS of calls and emails about her. We were hopeful that we would be able to find the right place for her. A friend talked to a co-worker and he was very interested. He has a dog and wanted a buddy for him. I thought Daisy would love having another dog to hang out with and knew enough about this family to feel confident that she would be well cared for. So we met Thursday afternoon. The whole meeting took about 10 minutes total. The dogs seemed to like each other. Daisy was nervous at first, but then tried to play with the other dog. She seemed really excited about him. The couple gave me a check, put both dogs in the car and off they went.

I proceeded to cry all the way home (we met at a rest stop on the highway). Daisy had really started to come out of her shell. She had become very playful and friendly. She would come when I called and even bark at me if I wasn't paying enough attention to her. She even started to warm up to Mike. I know that we made the right decision in giving her away, but it was still hard. I really do love dogs and giving Daisy away brought back some memories of giving away our dog before we moved to Kentucky (the hardest thing I ever did before Emily was born!). Just because a decision is right, that doesn't make it easy!

Mike and I have learned the hard way that we are not ready for a dog at this point in our lives. Maybe in a few years, we can think about bringing home a dog (not a puppy, but a dog). In the meantime, I think we would all really enjoy a fish for a pet.


Stephanie said...

Aw.. I'm sorry you had to give Daisy away. I remember how hard it was for you to give away Sammi. Maybe it'll work out in a few years for you to have a dog. :(

Amy said...

Sorry!! What a tough time...the range of emotions and physical exhaustion together are so hard. Again, sorry! You're right--just because a decision is right doesn't make it easy!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an adventure. A nice quiet goldfish sounds very nice.